It was two months ago in our story Investing in the Future we questioned the Football Federation of Australia splitting the profits from the sale of Western Sydney Wanderers with other A-League franchises to the tune of $250,000 each. We made it clear that this money should have been spent on development, with a focus on the women’s game, as surely when the Government gave the FFA $8million to set up Western Sydney Wanderers the money was supposed to be spent on exactly that, development. In fact the Government was very clear where the money was to be spent; “$5 million to help develop growth in participation in grassroots football of which $1 million will go to women’s football in the area. Another $3 million is set aside for the redevelopment of Football NSW’s headquarters at Valentine Sports Park in Glenwood.”
Sadly for the game the profits, which many feel should have been paid back to the Government before being shared, have been give to private investors to prop up their clubs with the aim of helping them record a profit in 2014/15 and make the competition look healthier than it is.
There were many who said that the FFA should have sat on the money and waited to see where the game needed investment the most, and had they done so they may well have been able to save the Australian Paralympic program and team.
Last week we featured Paul Brown the coach of the Pararoos on the show and he revealed the hackneyed way in which funding was handled. The Australian Sports Commission giving money to the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) who then gave it to the FFA to set up the program. One has to wonder if any of the funds were eaten up with the administration of the the transfer of these monies. He also revealed that the FFA ploughed in around $90k to a make the Paralympic program work.
Funding for the Paralympic program has now been withdrawn despite strong arguments that it should have remained. (A decision that goes beyond comparison) The whispers coming across the country are that the FFA put a very weak argument forward for the Winning Edge program on which funding allocations are based. The proposal put forward apparently had a very strong bias towards able-bodied programs, where the revised coaching structures have in recent times seen Australia fail to deliver.
In fact the Pararoos didn’t warrant a mention in the Winning Edge Tally under Paralympic managed sports, despite having only just missed out on Paralympic qualification twice in the last two World Championships. Although we have nothing against the sport, Boccia achieves funding ‘because even though they are not worthy of a medal in 2016 they have potential in 2020.”
The Pararoos have lost all of their $170k funding and are now likely to fold due to the fact that they will have no money for camps, or to play in tournaments and maintain their number 10 ranking. Here is a prime example as to why the FFA should not have handed the profits of the sale of Western Sydney Wanderers to the other A-League clubs. Had the FFA kept that money they could have easily funded the program and maintained it, and then they would have had the right to call all players of the game in Australia part of the “Football Family.”
You cannot pick and chose who is in your family as we all know, but it would appear that this may well be the case here. Hopefully the family will pull together and ensure that this program does not fold. If very A-League club returned $25k of the $250k they received from the FFA our Pararoos would be able to keep that Paralympic dream alive. Maybe it is time fans of A-League clubs rose up and demanded such a gesture from their clubs. Maybe there is one club out there who would like to lead the way. After all it only takes one…